Frances Dress in Wonderland Rayon

I think I was on a posting roll for awhile, and then WHAM! Since I last posted we had Heather from Closet Case Patterns here at the shop, and I also went on a ten-day (10!!) vacation to Athens and Rome. Side note: in case you are curious if fabric store owners still purchase fabric when they are on vacation, the answer is a big fat yes. Hopefully I will get to sew some of the new stash before the end of the year, so hold tight on that front!

Before I got crazy busy, I was able to whip this little number up. This is the Frances Dress, by Green Bee Patterns. Green Bee is co-owned by Alexia Abegg, who is also one of the main designers for Cotton + Steel.  I will be perfectly honest, this dress is a full-on copy of the one I saw Devon Iott, a.k.a. Miss Make, wear at Quilt Market last fall. She didn’t do the elastic and had a straight hem, so I guess it isn’t a complete copy, but she is absolutely responsible for this arriving in my closet the store as a sample.

This is one of those patterns that kind of sneaks up on you. The pattern cover shows a contrast button band and collar, which is just not my jam, so I never really gave it a thought. If it’s your jam, you are way more of a risk taker than I am. It just kind of sat on our pattern shelf until I saw it in person at Quilt Market. Then I was completely obsessed and waited until the Cotton + Steel Wonderland fabric arrived.

Wonderland is the second collection from the Rifle Paper Co. and C+S collaboration. The hardest decision was which color way to use:  the pink/brown–a personal favorite combo, or the blue/black. I think either would have been amazing, but I settled on the pink. This also gave me a chance to use hot pink thread for construction and topstitching. I can’t say that with any of my other projects! 🙂

As far as construction goes, this dress is pretty darn simple and the instructions were very well written! The sleeves are sewn in flat (yay for no gathering stitches!) and the collar is a camp collar. If you aren’t familiar with that type of collar, it means there is no collar stand–the collar is sewn directly onto the dress. This takes some of the stress out of making a collar. Think of it as a collar with training wheels! It will get you ready to take the big plunge with a grown-up collar (with stand!). When I saw Devon’s, she didn’t add the elastic at the waist and it had more of a boxy style, which I adored, but after asking everyone at Sip + Stitch what I should do, I ended up adding the elastic.

One thing to note for anyone out there who is going to make this with elastic: I did notice that the elastic guide seemed kind of high (and double check that since I didn’t actually transfer the lines, I just remember thinking it as I traced the pattern), so I just made my own line. How? I just measuered up from the side seams and only ONE of the fronts. Can you figure out what I did wrong? I bet you can. Yes, please measure both fronts. Mine aren’t level, but you know what? Wabi Sabi, man.

I did not do any adjustments to this pattern either! I actually sewed it…gulp…without making a muslin. I know, I know! This is totally against all my rules, but I just wanted to sew something and figured that the loose/relaxed style of the dress would work in my favor. Which it did. Thankfully! The pattern is drafted well and everything lined up as it should.

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Actually, I guess did make one small change to the pattern. It called for buttons, but instead I used our fancy pearl snaps in hot pink. I do feel like a superhero when I take it off at night, which is awesome. I am sure one night I will rip one of those little suckers off with my mighty strength! 😉

If you want to make a shirt-dress but are intimidated, this pattern is a great place to start. It has easy construction, a nice relaxed fit, and is super cute! It is like its own super power!

Have you sewn this dress up? Are you a constrasty-trim type of sew-er? Do you have your own super power?? Fess up! 🙂

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